Friday, July 15, 2005

Citing retaliation for the death of an Israeli woman on 7/14, the IDF launches overnight missile strikes on 4 sites in Gaza: a Hamas cultural center in n. Gaza, 2 sites Palestinians have used to launch rockets in s. Gaza, and a metal workshop (alleged weapons factory) in central Gaza; at least 2 Palestinians are injured. Later in the day, an IDF drone fires a missile at a car driving in Gaza City, assassinating 4 Hamas mbrs. (Sabir Abu Assi, ‘Assim Abu Ras, Amjad Arafat, ‘Adil Haniyeh), wounding more than 12 bystanders; an IDF helicopter and ground troops fire 3 missiles at a car driving in Salfit, assassinating 3 wanted Hamas mbrs. (Muhammad Ayyash, Samir Dawahqa, Muhammad Mar’ai); an IDF helicopter fires at 3 Palestinians firing mortars at Gush Katif, injuring them. In clashes in Salfit after the assassinations, the IDF fatally shoots a stone-throwing Palestinian teenager. The Israeli strikes mark the definitive end of the 2/8 cease-fire; Hamas announces that it is considering massive retaliation. Israel blames Abbas for failing to crack down on militant groups. The IDF also continues operations in and around Tulkarm; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin, Nablus. Overnight, PA police searching for Hamas gunmen clash again with Hamas mbrs., this time in Gaza City, leaving 2 Palestinian children dead; during the clash, Hamas mbrs. destroy a PA armored personnel carrier with rocket-propelled grenades, burn a police station and a PA office building; Hamas, Fatah quickly convene an emergency mtg. to defuse tensions. Palestinians fire a barrage of at least 19 rockets and 10s of mortars at Neve Dekalim, lightly injuring 2 settlers, damaging 5 houses; 1 shell hits an industrial zone in the Negev, sparking a fire. A Jewish settler seriously injures a Palestinian teenager in a hit-and-run incident in Hebron. Jewish settlers fr. Ramat Yishai throw stones, bottles at Palestinian homes in Hebron and at a Palestinian teenager, lightly injuring him. An Israeli court sentences an East Jerusalem Palestinian to 5 mos. in jail for joining Force 17 in 2000, calling it a “severe crime”; says at least 80 “Jerusalem Arabs” have been indicted on similar charges since 9/00. (IMEMC, JTA, NYT, UNIS, WP, YA 7/15; VOI 7/15 in WNC 7/15; Interfax, ITARTASS, JP, MENA, VOI, VOP, XIN 7/15 in WNC 7/16; HA, IMEMC, NYT, PRCS, REU, WP, WT, YA 7/16; VOP 7/16 in WNC 7/17; HA 7/17; OCHA, PR 7/20; PCHR 7/21)